Well being officers in B.C. are urging dad and mom to get their kids vaccinated towards the flu because the province grapples with an earlier-than-usual flu season, resulting in lengthy waits at main emergency rooms forward of the vacation season.
Provincial Well being Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry mentioned Monday that B.C. is seeing a “dramatic enhance” in circumstances of influenza A, a pressure which may trigger extreme sickness in kids.
“I can not stress sufficient the import of influenza vaccine proper now, this 12 months specifically,” mentioned Henry, chatting with reporters in Vancouver.
“There are extra kids now who haven’t been uncovered to influenza within the final two years … so extra of them are getting sick now.”
Henry mentioned the height of flu season has arrived two weeks sooner than it normally would.
Whereas the province is on observe for a report variety of folks getting their flu shot this 12 months, Dr. Penny Ballem with B.C. Vaccine Operations says solely 20 per cent of youngsters beneath 5 have been vaccinated.
Ballem says they will be sending texts and emails to households of about 150,000 kids beneath 5, inviting them to make appointments to get vaccinated.
Dr. Bonnie Henry explains why flu vaccination clinics are usually not in faculties:
Well being Minister Adrian Dix mentioned visits to provincial emergency rooms had been averaging 6,700 per day, however that’s now peaking as much as 6,900 sufferers each day, with additional strain on B.C. Youngsters’s and Fraser Well being hospitals.
In accordance with numbers from the B.C. Centre for Illness Management, flu circumstances began spiking round Nov. 13. The most recent information from the week of Nov. 20 reveals that out of 169 sufferers at B.C. Youngsters’s Hospital with respiratory viruses, 71 had influenza, 43 had respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and 17 younger sufferers examined optimistic for COVID-19.
Lengthy waits for remedy at B.C. Youngsters’s Hospital
B.C. Youngsters’s Hospital has seen exceptionally lengthy wait occasions as respiratory diseases unfold, with dad and mom staying 12 hours or longer to have their kids seen. Many kids are additionally lacking faculty, Henry mentioned.
The hospital briefly known as a code orange at 6:35 a.m. PT on Saturday. The code can be utilized for mass casualty occasions, however a press release mentioned it was used Saturday “to escalate notification for staffing assets.”
The code was cancelled that morning at 7:03 a.m.
Sarah Bell, the hospital’s chief working officer, mentioned the emergency division is seeing excessive acuity on high of the sheer quantity — which suggests a excessive variety of sufferers require extended consideration and care from nursing workers.
Bell mentioned dad and mom ought to solely deliver kids with a respiratory sickness to the emergency room in the event that they’re having hassle respiratory, including that kids who’re youthful than three months and have a fever and are dehydrated with diarrhea or vomiting must also go to the ER.
“You most likely do not want emergency care in case your youngster has a cough, chilly, sore throat, the flu, pink eye or an earache,” she mentioned.
Henry mentioned that as of Monday, charges of the widespread chilly and RSV have levelled off whereas influenza A has change into extra widespread.
COVID-19 continues to have an effect on older adults, she mentioned.
WATCH | Dr. Bonnie Henry explains why she wasn’t prepared in November to impose a masks mandate:
Dix mentioned on the time the province had made plans to cancel non-urgent surgical procedures to create room at hospitals for sufferers, particularly kids, however had not but reached that time.
“We do produce other steps we do not need to take, however they’d be, for instance, delay of non-urgent surgical procedure after which catching up on these rapidly thereafter,” Dix instructed reporters on the legislature.
“That step is accessible to us. We have not finished it but. We knew this was going to be a tough season, and it’s.”